What to do if you think someone is impersonating a police officer

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Law enforcement agencies suspect someone is impersonating a police officer and killing people after two highway murders occurred in Mississippi that appear to be connected.


Police in north Mississippi are increasing patrol after finding a woman in Tunica, MS, early Friday morning who had been shot and killed on Highway 713, and a 74-year-old Nebraska man who was shot and killed on Interstate 55 near Batesville, MS, on May 8.


LaVera Burton said what north Mississippi police are telling people to do now, she learned 10 years ago. "I'm from southern Arkansas, and a few years back they had an unmarked car going around and pulling over ladies late at night and stuff and raping them."


"The advice right then was not to pull over any unmarked car, stay at a consistent speed, drive to a well litted (sic), safe, populated area and then pull over," Burton said.


Jonesboro police sergeant Lyle Waterworth said people do not have to pull over right away if they are not sure the person trying to get them to stop is a police officer.


"Call 911. Say. ‘Hey, I've got somebody trying to stop me. If this is your officer trying to stop me, this is where I'm about to pull over at. I'm not pulling over along the side of the road."


Sergeant Waterworth recommends turning on the right signal light to acknowledge the person in case the stop is by a legitimate officer. "If a police car's behind you, or any emergency vehicle is behind you, you're supposed to yield to the right."



Officers and emergency responders throughout the state buy gear from Arkansas Police Supply, Inc. in Jonesboro. "We go about 150 miles, plus, outside the city limits of Jonesboro, several different departments, counties," said employee Becca Harrell.

"Boots, handcuffs, tactical gear, everything from top to bottom. Anything you need to actually suit up an officer, paramedics, firemen."

Harrell said they do not sell any marked items to the general public. They also keep in contact with police chiefs about who should be coming to the store.

"We'll check their credentials or actually call the chief of that department or the city hall," she said. "We have had situations where people have came (sic) in and tried to buy police officer badges and things of that nature, and once that has happened we normally make a call to JPD and let them know, and they usually seek that person or individual once they leave the premises."

Sergeant Waterworth said Jonesboro police do perform traffic stops in unmarked police cars, but it is not a common practice.

Impersonating an officer is a class D felony which means a person could face up to six years in prison.

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